Normally, I would give you a straight answer here so you didn’t have to read through roughly 1200 words unless you wanted to. But on this one, the answer of should you get a greenhouse is it depends. There are a lot of factors that come into deciding to get a greenhouse. Then you have narrow down how you are going to use it, the types of plants and finally the type of greenhouse. So instead of giving you a straight answer, I’m going to help you make a decision.
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Before You Get A Greenhouse, Ask Yourself…
I am all about treating yourself and getting things you want. Even if there is absolutely no purpose for the thing. But before you drop a couple thousand, or more, on a greenhouse, really ask yourself why you want a greenhouse.
Why Do You Want A Greenhouse?
Everyone will have different answers for this and it is solely based on your needs. We built our greenhouse because of our dog Blu. That’s not fair, we built the greenhouse for a lot of reasons but her longevity was high on the list.
Blu is a German Shepherd/ Great Pyrenees cross and she is massive. She is notorious for smashing her face into windows to raise hell at whatever has dared come into her yard. It doesn’t matter what or who is in the window when she goes nuts, but I can guarantee you, if it is fragile it’s probably ruined.
In 2023, she knocked over 100+ tomato starts, about 50 pepper starts and another batch of melon, eggplant, and cuke starts. We learned our lesson the hard way that a greenhouse is safer for our plant starts.
But if you don’t have a Blu, you may not need a greenhouse.
Another reason to consider getting a greenhouse would be to lengthen your growing season. Now, this would be more for a high tunnel like this but you may find that a traditional greenhouse would work well for you too.
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What Type Of Plants Are You Putting In A Greenhouse
For us, the greenhouse was for plant starts and some tropical stuff like citrus, coffee, and ginger plants. But mostly, the greenhouse is for our plant starts. So before you start sinking hundreds and thousands of dollars into a greenhouse, really think about the things that you are going to put into the greenhouse.
If you are only putting plant starts in your greenhouse, something small like this would probably be a good choice. Especially if you are starting smaller batches of starts.
But the more plants you are trying to house, the larger the greenhouse needs to be. Let’s not mention there are about a billion different styles of greenhouses.
Different Kinds Of Greenhouses
There are traditional glass greenhouses, plastic hoop house greenhouses, small transplant greenhouses, and even cold frames. But at the end of the day, a greenhouse is a glass or plastic structure that will grow plants. So don’t get hung up on which one is better than another. It really depends on what you are going to use it for.
If you are only starting plant starts in it, then something small and plastic that can sit on the sunny part of a deck would work beautifully. If you are looking to grow food in it, then a plastic high tunnel may be better suited. Or if you are looking to extend your growing season, I would also consider a high tunnel.
The glass window greenhouses are pretty out of date when you are looking at a production greenhouse. The simple reality is that there are so many other options when it comes to greenhouses. And you can usually built them MUCH cheaper than a glass one. My friend over at The Homesteading RD had a great post about what kind of plastics to use.
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Making The Decision To Get A Greenhouse
Jared wanted a greenhouse from the get go. He wanted to be able to grow year round and while I didn’t disagree with him, I didn’t want to spend that kind of money on a greenhouse when we already have a 200+ day growing season.
But as we really got into homesteading and farming, I realized that having a greenhouse really would help us.
Getting Our Greenhouse
Since our living room is so small, and it’s the only room that gets a good amount of light and heat, we really struggled with getting our plant starts started. Then we had to deal with Blu, kids, cats, and other issues with having 300+ starts in the house.
So I asked Jared to build me a greenhouse. I told him that I wanted a window plane greenhouse that was huge. I didn’t want to build something small and then outgrow it. The poor man is a military guy, who wants everything dress right dress. Then there’s me, the girl who loves crazy colors, abstract, and nothing that actually matches.
But Jared indulged me, and I love my greenhouse.
Our greenhouse is 12ft x16ft with 2 decks on the front. It’s got a sliding glass door on one side and a regular door on the other. The main structure is painted black and there are 5 different paint colors for the windows. We used tin on the “holes” and bottom to help keep it insulated but also rustic.
In between the decks, I have a small 4ftx4ft raised bed that will house Felix Felicis, our christmas tree. It will also have a couple other plants that will hopefully vine out from the greenhouse.
Inside, there is plenty of room for racks and racks of plant starts, storage for pots, tools, and more. It is probably my most favorite place on the homestead, except my gardens.
I even have my hammock set up in the corner (not pictured) so that I can hang out in the greenhouse.
Finishing The Greenhouse
There is still a ton of work left to do on the greenhouse. Things like painting, running power, putting in fans, and, of course, more plants. But those things can take time. The structure is up and able to receive plants.
Getting Your Greenhouse
Our greenhouse has cost us about $8,000 in material and probably another $4,000 in labor. But man, she is a gorgeous building and I couldn’t be happier with her.
But when you are looking at getting your own greenhouse, really make sure that it is something that you will like and use. If not, you will probably not be as happy with your greenhouse. As frilly and weird as my greenhouse is, if it wasn’t? I probably wouldn’t use it.
When you are looking at your greenhouse options, make sure that you are getting the greenhouse that you want, will work for you and is within your budget. Don’t be afraid to go all out to make it something beautiful that you will want to spend time in.
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